Hey Taylor - My husband and I are about to start giving our son an allowance and we’re arguing about how much it should be. He says $5/week, which is what he got, but I don’t think that’s enough. Any idea what’s fair or if there’s a standard? - Erin
Hey Erin - Five big ones, huh? Nothing to scoff at, but that kind of money doesn’t go too far these days. The allowance question is a very personal one, so I can’t tell you how much to give. I can, however, throw out some things to think about that will hopefully help you decide.
What makes sense for you? You need to think about what you feel comfortable spending and also what you feel comfortable with your child having. If you make your husband give too much more than $5, he might feel like your son is being spoiled. If you give an amount that you feel is too low, you could feel as though you’re making an empty gesture. You need to find some middle ground, while also making sure you don’t give your son money that you should be using to pay down debt or keep the lights on. Have a talk with your husband so you can set a floor and a ceiling for your son’s allowance, then narrow it down until you find a number you both feel good about.
What does your son want? If the money will all be spent on candy and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, $5 is more than enough. However, if your child wants to save up for something like a bike or some new clothes, it’s good to encourage that type of fiscal responsibility. Some parents give enough to cover a weekly outing, so whatever it costs to go to a movie or get a burger and fries. How much you give should depend on your son’s interests and spending habits. If your boy will be thrilled to death with $5 each week because that’s exactly enough for the one thing he wants to buy, then that’s a fine amount. If he needs a few more dollars to go see a movie, think about upping it just a hair.
When is payday? Once you know what the money is going toward, it might be helpful to think about when you schedule the payout. Maybe you pay $35 each month instead of $10 each week, giving a little less in the long run but making allowance day a bigger deal. This might not make a difference, or it could be the perfect solution, depending on your situation.
There’s no universal allowance amount, but thinking about these points should help you figure out a number that works. Good luck, Erin!
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